It’s been 3 weeks since I gave birth and I’m starting to feel normal again. I’m finally ready to share my birth story.
This story and the pictures that follow are very personal to me. I decided to share them so they can hopefully empower other women preparing to give birth.
All photos were taken by my amazing, dear friend, Lehua.
My due date came and went with nothing to remember it by. I already knew I shouldn’t expect my baby to come on my due date—after all, only 5% of women actually deliver on their due date.
After my due date passed I tried all sorts of methods to help speed up labor. I certainly didn’t want to be pregnant forever and my midwifery has a policy that requires me to birth at a hospital if I go past 2 weeks. In addition, I wasn’t looking to get induced at a hospital through unnatural procedures because they often lead to a whole bunch of additional interventions. I went on long walks, made love (yup…supposedly it helps!), and ate spicy foods. When the 7th day past my due date arrived, I decided to go get acupuncture. I had never gotten real acupuncture before and read online that some women found it helped induce labor. I just found a place on yelp, Evergreen Health & Herbs and decided to try it out. I have to admit the procedure was pretty uncomfortable—they stuck these needles in a few areas on my feet, hands, and belly. Then I had to lay there for 30 minutes and try to relax. I paid $60 and left wondering if the procedure really did anything. They mentioned I should walk a lot—at least 30 minutes in the morning, and then 30 minutes at night.
I went home that day and was working at my computer. I felt my stomach tighten for a few seconds…several times. Little did I know, they were Braxton Hicks contractions. The next day was Friday. It was raining, so what better place to go for a long walk than Target? I spent about 1.5 hours at Target and kept feeling contractions every 20 minutes or so. They weren’t strong or close together so I knew I shouldn’t worry. That evening, I went to dinner at my moms house and came back feeling really tired.
Midnight:::I start feeling contractions but am still unsure if they are real birthing contractions. They happen to come every 2 minutes or so. I decide to call my midwife. She asks when I last slept, ate, and a few other questions. I hadn’t slept since the morning and I was certainly feeling tired. She suggested I take a Benadryl, have a 30 minute warm bath, and try to sleep for the night so I can build up some energy. I follow the midwife’s instructions and try to sleep.
1am:::My doula, Socorro, arrives. She decided to come early in case I go into real labor sooner than expected. She rests in our guest room.
2am:::I am awakened by birthing contractions. This time they are stronger. They occur every 2 minutes or so. I get into the zone and turn on my hypnobabies tracks. I breathe through my contractions and focus on envisioning my woman area opening up. Albert calls the midwife.
2:40am::: Andy, the midwife on call from South Coast Midwifery arrives. She asks to check how dilated I am. In my birthing plan I had wanted to limit cervical checks. This is because every time you do a cervical check you increase the chance for infection. I also read that although dilation tells you how wide you’ve opened up, it doesn’t tell you how quickly labor will go. At that moment I decide to let her check me. I was 9cm dilated….which means I’m open enough to push. It was a moment of relief for me—so many months of waiting for my little guy to come and the gates were finally opening. 🙂
5am::: We thought we had this. I was in the tub and having pushing contractions. I was fully dilated.
Then, my midwife says, you need to get out of the tub. She checks me and says the baby has turned into a posterior position, which is not favorable for a smooth delivery. She says I need to try to stop pushing through my contractions, get into some different positions and we need to try to have the baby turn so he’s anterior, or facing towards my spine. Not pushing feels impossible at this point. She has me get into an inverted position to help encourage the baby to turn. I begin to wonder when and how the baby will come. I cast all doubts away as quickly as they come and go back to my hypnobabies training—I work through my affirmations and continue to envision my “safe place with the baby.”
7am::: At this point I’m having a difficult time. I can’t stop pushing through my contractions. I’m trying to fight the urge to push but it feels impossible. Thankfully, the second midwife on call comes to take her shift. With her, comes a new energy that helps me re-focus. She consults the head midwife and suggests I get a shot to help slow down my contractions so I can take a break while we try to wait for the baby to turn. I agree. After the shot I’m able to take a much needed 30 minute break. I take a quick nap and feel much better afterwards.
I had only a 1st degree tear when I’m naturally 112 lbs and 5′ 4″. My baby was 9lb 5oz! I believe I hardly had any damage because I was able to take my time and push gently, breathing my baby out in a squatting position.
There was no screaming. There was no pain. Just intensity and pressure. My birthing time was absolutely empowering, intimate, and wondrous. It will forever be an experience that helps shape me as a mother.